On May 12, the Mason and Partners Clinic “cut the gauze” on a new permanent building in Manassas Park. Thanks to a $250,000 capital grant from Potomac Health Foundation and the hard work of the many MAP clinic partners, health care services for uninsured patients can now be expanded from one to five days a week in the new building.
Over the past two years, Mason School of Nursing Professors Dr. Caroline Sutter and Dr. Rebecca Sutter, Prince William Health District Director Dr. Alison Ansher, and the City of Manassas Park Director of Public Works and Community Development Calvin O’Dell and Jay Swisher Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Manassas Park have worked tirelessly to bring their vision of an academic-practice partnership to reality. What started off as a room in the community center to provide physicals for children to start school turned into a clinic capable of treating a range of issues and helping families avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room
R. Sutter explains that they practice interprofessional care and can see anything from acute illnesses, such as allergic findings, to chronic disease management (hypertension, diabetes) and behavioral health issues (depression, anxiety). “One of the biggest roles we have is helping with navigation of our health care system. Its disjointed nature—let alone for the most vulnerable in our community—really requires that high touch intervention to connect them with partners and resources within the community itself.”
The current clinics have provided nearly $1.1 million per year in unreimbursed care for uninsured and underinsured community members. True to the academic-practice partnership model, these clinics also provide critical training for Mason’s students in the School of Nursing and departments of social work, nutrition, health administration and policy, psychology, and others. In conjunction with their standard curriculum, students practice a holistic approach to health care that uses evidence-based findings.
As these students enter the work force, their experience helps them stand out among their peers. “One of the most important things about the MAP Clinic initiative is that our students learn to work together, in partnership, to successfully impact health outcomes,” C. Sutter explains. “The Mason and Partners Clinic teaches collaboration, not competition, and in today’s complicated health care system, there’s no better learning opportunity for our students.”